Oxfam calls for an end to national biofuel mandates

17 September 2012 16:20  [Source: ICIS news]

LONDON (ICIS)--The charity Oxfam published a report on Monday calling for an end to biofuel mandates, arguing that they lead to global food price spikes, food shortages and in some cases, are more harmful to the environment than fossil fuels.

“The evidence on the contribution of biofuel policies to recent international food price spikes is so compelling that, in 2011, 10 international organisations – including the IMF [International Monetary Fund] and the World Bank – made an unprecedented call for G20 governments to scrap biofuel mandates and subsidies,” Oxfam said.

“By 2020, EU biofuel mandates alone could push up the price of some foods by as much as 36 per cent. This translates into hunger and malnutrition for millions of people, especially in countries like Yemen which import most of their food,” the organisation added.

In its report, Oxfam also called for the removal of the 2020 target of 10% renewable energy in transport.

Echoing draft proposals from the European Commission (EC) last week, Oxfam also said that emissions caused by indirect land use change (ILUC) should be taken into account when measuring the greenhouse gas emissions of biofuels.

“Modelling shows that ploughing up carbon sinks to meet EU biofuel mandates could be as bad for the environment as putting an extra 26 million cars on Europe‘s roads,” the organisation said.

Last week, a draft EC proposal to amend the EU Renewable Energy Directive to limit the use of food crop-based biofuels and to make biofuels accountable for ILUC emissions were leaked, prompting an outcry from the European Biodiesel Board, which reasoned such proposals would lead to the death of the European biodiesel industry.

($1 = €0.76)

By: Sarah Trinder
+44 20 8652 3214

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